The Southies also called the placed, loved any of their given nicknames. When the country was split in two after the one-mind war, all people campaigning for independent minds and were more conservative in nature successfully migrated to the South side of the country thus came about the nickname the Placed.

People who strongly wanted to keep pushing the one-mind agenda due to their beliefs that their views held a lot of importance eventually migrated to the other side of the country, the North region. The slur Overridded originated from this migration as the Northies ideally wanted to migrate to the south side of the country which was coastal rather than the north which was landlocked.

Mr Johnson continued, still glaring at the part of the audience where the girls dad had finally managed to pull her down to her seat. ”Keeping with our customs, we should respect everyones differences whilst maintaining the crucial traditions that uphold our own morals. The primary source of education is at home. Educate your kids at home and then they will be impervious to any propaganda that they may face at the Conventus program. Foes are foes and you should at first remain guarded against them, but a foe may eventually turn into a friend ”.

Given that the man could hardly ever manage a good word about the Northies, and even now at the highlight of his speech was clearly fighting a grimace, Layla jaw dropped slightly at his words. Firstly, the man was speaking more eloquently than he had ever before. Laylas dad was never usually one for superfluous words. He was usually brash, and like other Northies preferred logic over emotion, rational over undeserved sympathy and facts over feelings.

Secondly, Mr Johnson was sympathising heavily with people he had always called foes. The man was usually paranoid to the bone, especially with Northies. He built Layla up on never fully believing anything someone said, a conversation could never simply be innocuous to him. He always had to know what the other person was thinking and feeling. Eventually he had also taught Layla the art of reading people.

So, this is how power changes people, Layla huffed. She just couldn believe that her usually unyielding dad could change so quickly.

She felt a swift kick in the shin, which uncoincidentally came from the same direction as the earlier elbow to the ribs. Strangely, Layla found herself pleased that at least some people could stay on brand. Laylas mum never missed an opportunity to make sure her kids remembered that filial piety was their God given duty and she did it all without a hair so much as moving out of place.

The blonde gremlin from earlier, again rose from her seat against the wishes of her drained father. This time her screams broke the sound barrier as it pierced through the air. ”IT HAS HAPPENED BEFORE WHERE THE NORTH HAS BROKEN DOWN A FAMILY UNIT OF THE SOUTH, THEY ARE ATTACKING THE FABRIC OF SOCIETY ”

Exactly what was the girl on about, Layla chuckled to herself. Since when was one familys problems going to completely cripple society. Even with the butterfly effect considered, Layla could not see anyone caring enough about the situation the girl was talking about enough to make real ripples in society. Society was already so broken from the One-mind war and the Bifuricate civil war that even an earthquake would only cause minor effects in comparison.

Luckily Laylas dad had a suitable reply to quell the girls passion. ”The South could also be potentially broken down by children who overstep boundaries. Respect has been the foundation that the Right has been built on and in case you were not aware, butting in whilst someone else is talking is disrespectful. ”

At once the girl sat back down with a roll of her eyes. But the effect of her previous words was evident in the body language of every person in the hall. Subconsciously or otherwise the reminder of the incident from four years ago had everybodys eyes glancing over at the Taylor family sitting at the back end of the hall.

The incident was not often spoken about in respect of the previous leaders who were now stepping down from an authoritative role, but unless anyone was hiding under a rock for the last four years, everyone definitely knew. The story was, as distorted as stories get after four years of gossip, that whilst attending the first attempt of the Conventus program, the Taylors eldest daughter, Macy, fell in love with an absolute hoodlum. The man had been labelled as a hoodlum just on the basis of being a Northie. He was actually from one of the most affluent families in Bifuricate Country, but every Southie knew that one must not let minor details get in the way of great storytelling.

From there the story goes that Macy ran off into the sunset with the hoodlum leaving her suffering parents- who to Laylas knowledge were in great health- to mourn of her passing unto the other side. The Taylors eldest daughter was the first person since the splitting of the country in two, to go reside in enemy quarters. The problem was, Juliet, as Macy the runaway lover was often called, usually came back to the South to see her parents every month and she hadn done so in the last year and half.

All that was certain in Laylas mind about this story was that the poor Taylor parents had been left with the worse of their two daughters, Laylas nemesis Emily Taylor. It sounded bad; Layla knew that. She knew it sounded extremely immature to label someone who wasn the devil himself as an arch enemy.

Laylas mother loved Emily and often reprimanded Layla for any harsh treatment of Emily. In fact, everyone loved Emily and overcompensated for Emilys sisters migration. Layla was quite sure that if anything, she was doing Emily a favour by acting normal and like she had always done from whenever their fallout had been. Layla had forgotten exactly what their fallout had entailed but anyway, its not like Emilys sister was kidnapped by a group of Neanderthals for Layla to show excessive sympathy. Well, Northies were commonly referred to as Neanderthals by the Southies, but no one was thought it had any truth in it, it was just a highly disrespectful, and on a rare occasion, funny joke.

For the love of God, Layla didn think going over to the North was as big of a deal as everyone was making it out to be, especially when her mind wondered to the eyes of the son of the Lux family. Laylas next thought came abruptly without her say so, what was wrong with a little bit of innocent intermixing. ”Uggh- ” Layla huffed aloud, she sniffled realising she was turning into an extreme Northie sympathiser and all for the sake of love. Layla prayed that something could snap her out of her daydream. Then it came, her mothers elbow.

Layla had thought she was safe from the keen elbow of her mother due to her mothers intolerance of anyone belittling her husband. Her mother had in fact tutted several times earlier when the gremlin had raised her voice at her husband. Layla was afraid for the round teenager that her mothers tuts would escalate to a kiss of the teeth which typically signalled that her mother was at her absolute wits end. But her mother seemed to think her husband was handling the gremlin sufficiently well, so she instead she again took up the role of handling her daughter with another sharp elbow to the ribs.

Before the introduction seminar for the Conventus program, Mrs Johnson had given Layla an incredibly nice pep talk. Mrs Johnson had acted as if Layla was going away for war and there was no way she was ever going to come back to her Earthly home. The way her mother had spoken, Layla thought there was a chance of going to her heavenly home.

When the topic of conversation was not Laylas misdeeds against Mrs Johnsons husband, Mrs Johnson was sweet. That was her go to conversation style and it suited her proud housewife mind frame. However, the words Laylas mother had used on that day a week ago had forced Layla to ask her mother whether she had accidently sold Layla for the pair of hot-pink, flowery high heels she had been salivating over. No, her aghast mother had said. Later, Layla saw on the family computer her dad bought reluctantly last year, that the most recent search was for hot-pink, flowery high heels. He mother had walked by sheepishly and but couldn contain her happiness whilst looking at the shoes saying, hank you dear, you reminded me.

But anyhow, it was at that time during the meeting when her mum had nudged Layla in the ribs for the fourth consecutive time that Layla was reminded of her mothers sweet words. Her mother had called Layla the best child in the world and said she was so blessed to be her mother, Mrs Johnsons words not Laylas.

As Layla thought more and more about her mothers words, she started to feel quietly confident. She remembered who she was. If she correctly remembered, the words her mother had used to describe her were remarkable, stupendous and sensational. The funny thing was the more Layla thought about her own greatness, the less she remembered about her her mums proclivity to use Layla as a pin cushion. Layla swung her head round to glare at her mum and whispered smugly ”who exactly do you think y- ”.

Oop–. Laylas mum had done that funny thing that mums do. Mrs Johnson looked at Layla as if Layla had lost her mind. Mrs Johnsons eyes had narrowed. Mrs Johnsons nostrils had flared. Mrs Johnsons daughter fought the urge to tell her mum that the look was not her most becoming. Two seconds more and Layla was sure that Mrs Johnsons platinum blonde hair extensions would stand erect on her scalp and fire would emerge from every orifice on her face.

Layla smiled weakly, or so she thought, her bottom lip was trembling a bit too much for her to be exactly sure, and then she looked away quickly. Like the drama queen she was she wondered whether she could escape trouble once they were out of the earshot of others if she could manage to weep bitterly. She tried desperately to get a tear out of her eye, just one would do on the side of her face that her mother could see. But at the time she needed it most, her forte, the kingpin of manipulation, crying at will, let her down. She resigned to the reality that she was probably going to be her mothers pin cushion until kingdom come.

She too was now going to be forever known as the insubordinate child. She had judged the round thirteen-year-old too quickly earlier. Layla, the round teenager and the bot were now in the same boat.

Laylas baby sister let out a noise that sounded remarkably like a chuckle, then the baby went on to stick out her tongue at Layla. Layla couldn be all that sure that the baby hadn just been letting off some gas. Preposterous, she thought, the baby was making fun of her. The problem was that the bubbly, bouncing baby was so cute that Layla couldn bring herself to care. That was what was difficult with the wholesome, they were so innocent, that something that could have been purposeful could easily be brushed to the side as a coincidence. That was sly and cunning in Laylas mind.

The meeting went on for about another hour and half with the students having to reply to all sorts of questions about what happened at the Conventus introduction lecture. Fortunately for Laylas sanity, the meeting came to an end with Mr Johnson reminding the crowd that they were free to attend the new fortnightly North-South debates that were happening at the end of the next week; an effort by the Midstep governing party to bridge the gap between the two groups.

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